TV Viewers Change the Channel During Negative Political Adverts

06.13.12 / MGH Press Release

Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political advertisement

BALTIMORE (June 13, 2012) - A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32 percent of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47 percent) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad. The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority - 88 percent - of survey respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. Additionally, when looking at the age breakdown of younger millennials aged 18 - 24, the survey found slightly higher percentages:

Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19 percent are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.

"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."

According to a recent New York Times article, at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks - about five months out from the election. To find out more information about our survey and our take on what the results mean for marketers, please visit:

About the Survey

In April 2012, an online survey of 1,000 adults aged 18+ – who had seen at least one political advertisement recently – located in states where presidential primaries had taken place was conducted by Equation Research. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 4 percent. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About MGH

MGH is an integrated marketing and communications agency offering advertising, public relations, media planning/buying, creative design and production, interactive (design, development and marketing), mobile, market research, direct response, relationship marketing and social media marketing.

MGH maintains a diverse client base spanning multiple industries. Current clients include Marco's Pizza, MASN, Utz, Old Bay, M-Edge, the National Aquarium, University of Maryland University College, Towson University, Nobel Learning Communities, Ocean City, Md., Department of Tourism and Smyth Jewelers.

Based in Baltimore, MGH is one of Maryland's largest agencies, with more than $70 million in annual billings. Visit for more information on MGH and its services or connect with MGH via Facebook at, Twitter at, or YouTube at .

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